Leadership is a Matter of Conviction, not Convenience
Leadership is a Matter of Conviction, not Convenience
We are blessed to live in a time that offers so many conveniences. We get news and weather by turning on the television or radio, bank via the ATM, cook or call for home delivery. Many conveniences, like cell phone or texting, allow us to communicate with loved ones when we are away, but they can also foster a sense of isolation. How many times have you witnessed people walk past each other without speaking a word, not even a “Good Morning”, texting instead of talking, or walking into traffic while reading their texts?
These shortcuts are not just damaging relationships but have become a public health issue. In 2017, the Center for Advanced Public Safety, at the University of Alabama reported that 66% of all fatal crashes were caused by pedestrians. A University of Iowa study on texting while walking revealed similar results. When it comes to relationship-building, perhaps the late economist and historian, Charles Issawi said it best when he said, “a shortcut is the longest distance between two points.”
Unfortunately, leaders are taking short-cuts in developing and relating to others. They assign difficult or high visibility work or projects to “super-stars”, only to then complain about the lack of initiative, knowledge or abilities of others. Often the reason for these types of behaviors is “the deadline.” Some neglect providing honest-straight forward feedback in hopes of minimizing complaints or other conflict. Many times, leaders, though not intentioned, send conflicting messages. For example, a leader may say there is trust but will not allow tele-work because they can’t see what others are doing. Abraham Lincoln reminds us that “if you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.” It is as though a reminder is needed, 1 Corinthians 15:33 (GNT):
“Do not be fooled. “Bad companions ruin good character.”
Leadership isn’t about convenience, it’s about conviction. Conviction is a firmly held belief or opinion, especially about others. As leaders we should believe in the good and loving nature of people. 1 Timothy 4:4 (NLV) reminds us:
“Everything God made is good. We should not put anything aside if we can take it and thank God for it “
As leaders, we can positively influence the behavior of others, by our words and actions, if we hold on to this belief. Complaints, poor performance and low morale are the result of injecting negativity, unethical or inappropriate behaviors, cynicism and condemnation into our environment. Conversely, if you hold yourself to a high standard and expect the best from those around you; seldom will you be disappointed, often your expectations are exceeded. Psychologists call this phenomenon the “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
As John Lennon asked, can you “Imagine”? Imagine what it would be like to have someone pour themselves into you, not for their benefit but for yours? Jesus firmly believed in developing others, especially His disciples. His conviction ran so deep that the Bible tells us that the disciples were with Him for at least three years. No doubt, leadership requires conviction. It is a matter of the heart that requires faith and it requires that you invest of yourself.
Leadership can have a multiplying effect. John Maxwell, noted leadership author, says that “a leader who produces other leaders’ multiples their influences.” John may have spoken these words, but Jesus lived them. He was a “hands-on” leader that developed His disciples. Jesus led by immersing His disciples not just in his teaching, but in His life. According to Winfield Bevins, Jesus developed His ministry by focusing attention on the following principles:
- Selection - look for people who are faithful, willing, and able to reproduce
- Association - we should be in the lives of the people we are seeking to develop.
- Consecration - God can only use men and women who are willing to obey Him.
- Impartation - As leaders, it is important for us to grasp that we have a spiritual responsibility to impart ourselves in others if we are going to make disciples.
- Demonstration - It is important that we practice what we preach, because the people we are training will follow our life and example.
- Delegation - Jesus assigned His disciples work. He developed His disciples by delegating ministry responsibilities to them. He sent His disciples out and gave them real ministry. Hands on experience was a vital part of Jesus’ discipleship curriculum.
- Supervision - Supervision is an important part of leadership development, especially when dealing with new believers and new leaders. We want to delegate and empower people to act, but we also need to help supervise them to make sure they stay on track.
- Reproduction - Jesus expected His disciples to reproduce His likeness in others. He imparted His message and mission to His disciples so that they would reproduce themselves in others and make disciples of all nations.
2 Timothy 2:2 (TLB) tells us ““For you must teach others those things you and many others have heard me speak about. Teach these great truths to trustworthy men who will, in turn, pass them on to others. For you must teach others those things you and many others have heard me speak about. Teach these great truths to trustworthy men who will, in turn, pass them on to others.” Sounds like a good approach to me, what do you think?
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